NEWS SHORTS 

Columbia Week in Review
Columbia earned its right-wing stripes last week with a legislative triple threat. Religious courses in public schools, a marriage amendment banning same sex unions, and a bill that would make the death penalty a potential consequence for repeat sex offenders were all percolating in the Statehouse.

Wed., May 31, a bill introduced by Charleston state Sen. Chip Campsen became law. The bill will grant high school credit for off-campus religious courses. The courses are privately run, no public education funding goes into the program, and participation is voluntary. Currently, 270,000 students around the country are involved in these “release-time” programs. South Carolina will be only the second state to award credit for religious classes, Georgia being the first.

Working hard last Wednesday, the legislature accomplished another national second — this in the form of a bill that will allow capital punishment in cases in which sex offenders are convicted twice for molesting a child 11 or under. The only other state to do so is Louisiana. No one has been executed for a non-murder crime since the death penalty was restored in the United States in 1976. Maybe we can make it to first in that category.

Not to be outdone by the legislature, Attorney General Henry McMaster announced the formation of a “compassionate educational campaign advocating passage of a state constitutional amendment” making same-sex marriage illegal. The goal of the “compassionate” Palmetto Family Council is for the amendment to be ratified in this November’s general election. —Elle Lien


18

That’s the number of poker-playing outlaws who pled not guilty to gambling charges last Wednesday. The “Mount Pleasant 22” had their weekly game busted up by the po’ leece in April. The 18 protesters, including 78-year-old Amelia “Midge” Cheseborough, are on a crusade to out the absurdity of South Carolina’s 1802 anti-gambling law. Source: Post and Courier

“I think he was here long enough and had such good constituent services that everybody had either had their family helped, or someone they knew helped, by his constituent-services office. So, I just felt like I owed him one.”

In an interview with South Carolina Public Television, funnyman and Charleston native Stephen Colbert admitted to casting a vote for Sen. Strom Thurmond — and really, who didn’t? The now-deceased Senator may even pick up some votes later this week. Source: www.nypost.com

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